Conservative group launches last-minute attack on Dallas bond vote

A conservative group has launched a last-minute attack against all Dallas bond propositions.

Conservative Response Team is calling Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings “Big Tax” and urging voters to vote no on all 10 of the bond items.

“Howdy folks. This is Big Tax with an important announcement for all my Dallas friends. Dallas is broke. We can't pay our bills,” the ad says, playing off of the State Fair’s Big Tex.

Conservative Response Team also attacked a Dallas councilwoman for her vote to take down the Robert E. Lee statue at Lee Park. The group said the city wasted thousands of dollars removing the statues and now claims the city is crying poverty.

The group said it wants the city to come up with a smaller bond package.

Dallas business investor Christopher Ekstrom created the ad.

"The Dallas Bond is a particularly bad example of an out of control unhinged city council, abetted by a mayor who seems to be more like Bill de Blasio of New York than what we would expect Dallas, Texas, to have as a red state and fiscally conservative place," he said.

The biggest item on the ballot is Proposition A, more than half a billion dollars to fix streets, alleys, potholes, improve pedestrian crosswalks and traffic lights. The city manager says that amount is only a fraction of what it actually needed to address street problems throughout the city

Other propositions on the ballot include dedicating money to fix parks, libraries, Fair Park, aging city buildings, flood protection and upgrading security at police headquarters.

Councilman Lee Kleinman says the ad's calculation is correct.

"It's simple math," he said. "The principle and interest is about 1.3 billion. We have about 1.2 million people in Dallas."

While proponents of the 10 bond propositions emphasize that the city's tax rate won't go up due to the bond, Kleinman says make no mistake that people in Dallas will pay higher taxes.

"We have the opportunity to actually reduce the tax rate and reduce taxes on people," the councilman said. "But we're going to issue all of this additional debt."

Assistant City Manager Majed Al-Ghafry says in short residents will get what they pay for.

"Not investing in repairs. That need can grow greater and greater and greater," he said. "The cost is exponential if we wait on it and allow it to deteriorate further."

The billion-dollar bond package has the support of three former mayors as well as a number of groups and individuals.

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